Do you remember how I mentioned making the warm tomato vinaigrette during my most recent sabor de soledad but then I never posted any pictures of it? Well, I’m making up for it now with this passata. It was the first Sunday of Daylight Savings Time, and we had decided to make pizza (but not in enough time to make the pizza dough in time so frozen dough was required) and I grabbed some tomatoes and herbs to make more of the passata that is the core of the recipe and turn it into a fresh tomato sauce to go one one of the pies. The base for the sauce–long-roasted tomatoes blended with fresh basil–is solid, and so I felt it was only natural to add some roasted garlic and some tarragon to punch it up a little.
As you can imagine, the sauce was phenomenal, and after a rather frustrating day at the gym it was the win I totally needed. Since we had been in the area that morning I took Michael to the gym I belong to right by my office, and despite the fact that the brand mascot for the gym is a guy deadlifting, I found it incredibly difficult to do even my more normal deadlifting routine because my hands couldn’t get a good grip on the bar. They don’t allow chalk and the barbells are all really smooth, so it was nigh upon impossible to get above what would normally not be a big deal of a weight for me, and it was frustrating as fuck. I ended up doing a short 1K on the rower to help me feel more adequate about everything, and going forward I’ll be focused on lower-weight work whenever we find ourselves there on weekends.
Anyway, this sauce became the thing I was most pleased about making that day, because it was delicious and interesting and successful, and I wanted to eat so much of the sauce straight out of the bowl. (It could be the base of a kickass soup, if you ask me.) We sauced the pie gently, and I used little mozzarella boccioni and some good grape tomatoes to make a kickass pizza, and it took everything within me not to house it after a somewhat killer workout.
Pizza with Roasted Tomato-Garlic-Herb Passata and Fresh Mozzarella
- One round pizza dough, or one-half of this recipe
- Roasted Tomato-Garlic-Herb Passata, recipe follows
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
- 8-14 grape tomatoes, halved
- 8-12 basil leaves, washed and left whole
Roasted Tomato-Garlic-Herb Passata:
Adapted from The Kitchen Witch
- 5 Roma tomatoes
- 1 TBSP olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for the garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 heads garlic, paper peeled and heads cut off and reserved
- 14 basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons
- More olive oil for finishing (about 1-2 tablespoons at most)
Make the passata: preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the tomatoes in the tablespoon of olive oil, then season generously with kosher salt and pepper.
In the meantime, place the garlic into a foil packet and season the cut garlic with a little drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper; close up the packet and place on a lower rack to roast.
Place the tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet on a higher rack and let roast for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove both the tomatoes and the garlic from the oven and let cool, and then place the tomatoes in a blender carafe and then squeeze the garlic into the carafe; add the herbs and a little extra olive oil and blend until very smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed and set aside.
Make the pizza: preheat the oven to 475 to 500, and cover a baking sheet with cornmeal. Stretch out the pizza dough gently and place on the baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes before removing and adding the sauce and cheese and tomatoes (in that order), being light on the saucing as to not soak the pizza. Let bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the oven and serve after the pizza has rested for about 4 minutes.